Viruses are microscopic organisms, smaller than bacteria. They are difficult to see. Transmission occurs by inhalation or swallowing these contaminants. Other methods of transmission include bites and parasites of insects and animals. When a virus invades the body, it infects and replicates in the human cells and prevents the cells from performing normal functions. When the body is unable to fight off the invasion of the virus on the body, a viral infection occurs manifested by symptoms. A few examples of diseases virus are the common cold, influenza, herpes simplex virus infections, shingles, yellow fever, dengue fever, and human immunodeficiency (HIV) virus infection. Recently, the world experienced the outbreak of diseases virus such as the H1N1 and swine flu. These are infections caused by a virus.
The first step in knowing how diseases virus are treated is to identify the type of infection. Generally, antiviral drugs are administered to the infected person to reduce the symptoms and treat the source of infection. These drugs are meant to prevent the virus from replicating in the body. Antibiotics are not effective, although a person can have both a bacterial and viral infection. In such a situation, antibiotics are prescribed to kill the bacteria causing the infection.
There are specific antiviral drugs used to treat diseases virus, but there are also viral infections where these drugs won’t work. For example, the common cold is caused by many types of viruses and the strains are changing all the time such that to date, there is no effective vaccine against it. Prevention is still the best method such as practicing good hygiene as the virus is spread by getting in contact with the secretions of an infected person or sharing the same objects. Influenza or the flu is another common diseases virus whose symptoms include fever, runny nose, headache, cough, and body aches. These symptoms are very similar to the common cold, but it is not the same condition. The flu virus affects the lungs and airways of a person causing severe cold-like symptoms. However, there are 2 different strains of the virus: type A and type B. If untreated, complications can occur such as pneumonia. Usually, doctors prescribe antiviral drugs when a person is exposed to the virus. These drugs also help in treating diseases virus of affected patients. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen may be given to relieve pain in addition to nasal decongestants. However, adequate rest is the main treatment. Vaccination against the flu is also recommended especially vulnerable groups such as older people, children, pregnant women, and healthcare workers. For a lot of viral infections, preventing the infection is an effective method. For instance, inoculating a person with the yellow fever vaccine is effective in preventing an outbreak as there is no treatment for this infection. Unfortunately, for dengue fever or HIV, there is no vaccine available. However, doctors are working hard to identify strains of viruses that appear each year, causing outbreaks. In a similar way, medical researchers strive to come up with vaccines to prevent virus infections from occurring.
Tips and comments
- Keep your vaccinations updated especially when traveling to areas where there are possible risks of contracting diseases virus.
- Practice good hygiene and strive to eat healthy and well-balanced meals to build your defenses against infections.
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